A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, May 02, 2003 :::
Carnival of the Vanities readers, please scroll down through the two succeeding posts to find the winning entries. Or better yet, read your way down there.

The President's Speech...San Francisco vs. Washington...Relief Agencies Get It All Wrong in Iraq...The Next Nail in the Coffin for Mankind...And Hope in the Night...

Another nice late morning for A Mind That Suits. This lasts about two days after the end of semester. And then other concerns rush in, and there go the late mornings.

I am a "Go To The Original Source" Kind of Guy. If you did not watch the President's speech last night, the full text and a link to the video can be found here. Don't listen to anyone's opinion until you read it for yourself. Then trash it if you feel like it. But not before.

San Francisco, or Washington? San Francisco is so often listed as the nation's most beautiful city, and most readers may be surprised to find that A Mind That Suits disagrees. But he has lived his entire adult life in one or near the other, so he is in a position to be objective. San Francisco is beautiful, indeed. And the food simply cannot be beat. It's like Rome: surrounded by farm areas with a nearly-year-round growing season. But Washington wins on a couple of scores. First, the variety of architecture in the houses downtown. Not out in suburbs, where we seem to have specialized in cookie-cutter Tract Mansions, what a teenage acquaintance refers to as "Space Wasters." But in the vast residential areas, there is an incredibly rich array of architectural styles. San Francisco is at a disadvantage here, since the 1906 Earthquake means that most houses there are newer than in DC, but, still, there is a greater uniformity to the average house in San Francisco than there is not in Washington. Second, and most important, A Mind That Suits was shocked, upon returning to San Francisco after an absence of fifteen years or more, by the almost complete lack of trees.

In one area, San Francisco excels, and that is in very high-end residences. Pacific Heights has some genuinely eccentric masterpieces among its mansions, whereas, in a comparable section of Washington, such as the cliffs around Rock Creek, it is hard to tell the embassies from the houses.

But in two areas, San Francisco and Washington are identical: the European sensibility that went into their basic design is now reflected by their social Europeanization. That is, the rich will soon completely dominate downtown, and the poor will live way out in the suburbs. And the culture of the elites in both cities is very selfish, which may be the reason why the elites in those cities accuse everyone else in America of being selfish: they wouldn't recognize a selfless act if it fell on them.


I Thought We Wanted to Liberate Iraq. In a brilliant analysis this morning, psychologist Sally Satel dsicusses the massive army of therapists being sent into Iraq by Western relief agencies. You read that right: the UN is sending them headshrinkers to help them "deal with" the elasticly defined Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Satel alludes to cultural resistance to such drivel, and anyone who has had even the briefest exposure to actual Arab culture will know exactly how this will be received. Face saving and racial solidarity is so important to them--remember the "Minister of Information"--that there is no way that the average Arab male is going to "open up" to a German woman. Why, even in therapy-addicted Manhattan, mental health agencies reported that the vast majority of people needing extra help after 9/11 were already in the mental health system. Particularly telling is Dr. Satel's observation that the P.T.S.D. industry fails to distinguish between psychological problems and ordinary (or even extraodinary) anguish. Iraqis will start building for the future, using whatever aid their religion, their professions, and their families can provide for them.


The Crisis of American Public Schools. Pulitzer-prize winner Daniel Henninger has made a personal crusade out of reform of public education, particularly in the inner cities, where our children are trapped into a system that simply does not want them to be free of government control. He has another excellent article on it this morning. And if you have never read the piece for which he got the prize, on his experience of 9/11, which he began standing across the street as the first tower was hit, it is here.


The Next Step Down the Slope. This morning's Post brings an account of a chilling development in the world of cloning. Scientists have taken an embryonic cell from a mouse and converted it into an egg, and they were able to do this with the cells of males as well as females. When Dolly the Sheep was introduced into the world, many commentators lept to the conclusion that it spelled an end to the usefullness of men. This was silly. Who finds rearing children distracting? Is there going to be some shortage of poor women who cannot be enticed or forced into the service of rich, ambitious, self-centered men? It bears repeating ad infinitum: every step of the sexual revolution has meant degradation for women. Remember the "feminization of poverty?" We are about to reach the logical conclusion of our journey. That family ties have always been seen as a restraint on men--in particular, their roving, violent tendencies--is an observation lost on our cultural elites, but it remains true. Most scientists seem to think human cloning is possible and inevitable, and apparently the ones familiar with this newest process think it is also transferrable to humans. This is not a great day for humanity, and it may be remembered as a truly horrible one for women.

In sharp contrast... A Mind That Suits ran across this bracing comment from his main man, and it is a fitting contrast to that last item: "Although human beings live through a network of relationships and communities, the uniqueness of each person can never be lost in a shapeless mass. This explains the deep echo in our souls when we hear ourselves called by our own name." (Emphasis in the original. See Section 9.) So said John Paul II, and it also remains true today, despite the fact that our elites have forgotten it.

The Weekend Edition of A Mind That Suits will appear on Sunday around 1.

Until then...


::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 11:12 AM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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